Quality control remains one of the most important aspects of commerce in Zimbabwe.
The Standards Association Of Zimbabwe has been operating for decades ensuring that standards are met by those who deliver services. Section 4(2) of the Petroleum (Fuel) Quality Regulations of 2013 makes it a criminal offence to sell contaminated fuel in Zimbabwe.
Recently there has been a surge in cases of unethically “punched” fuel being dispensed at branded service stations around the country .
Noble Muromba a victim of this narrated his sad incident after he bought contaminated diesel at Engen service station in Madokero which resulted in him losing more than R150 000 after his BMW car became defective.
Filing his complaint against the company , Mr Muromba wrote in his statement: On the 2nd October 2022 around 18h00 (or so) I took my vehicle, a 2016 BMW 330d (JB94YJGP) for a refill to Engen Madokero since the tank was almost empty.
The car was filled to the brim and I left their premises. On the same day I drove from Madokero to Houghton Park to drop off a friend from where I proceeded to Hatcliffe to drop off another friend and finally went home to Mbare.The following day, while driving to the airport, my car suddenly stopped running and gave a drivetrain warning on the i-drive display.
I tried to start it a couple of times and it failed. I then called for help from my parents who came to take me to the airport while leaving someone with the car to arrange for a tow truck
After this incident Mr Muromba took his vehicle to a BMW workshop in South Africa to diagnose the car and the cause of the fault. It was then established that the cause of the car was contaminated diesel.
Upon going back to Engen Madokero , he met the manager who verified his car details and transaction with the garage and also CCTV footage which proved that he had indeed used their services .
In his statement he also says that the Engen Madokero manager Mr Gerald Rambayi assured him that if the damage was as a result of their contaminated diesel they would pay for the repairs for his car.
They verbally agreed that they would liaise with each other to get the diesel sample from his car tested to ascertain whether the diesel was contaminated.
Mr Muromba tried to make arrangements with Engen Madokero for them to witness the extraction of diesel in his vehicle for tests by an SABS certified laboratory in South Africa. Engen Madokero refused, instead opting to test the diesel in their tanks which was a different batch to what was dispensed into his car.
The test results showed that the diesel sample indeed was indeed contaminated and the diesel sample failed to meet the minimum standards required for Diesel 50.
To Mr Murombas surprise the tests by the garage were done in his absence or any of his witnesses and they were done 20 days after the incident happened meaning that the same batch which was defective had already been cleared.
The tests by the Engen service station in Madokero was different from those from an independent quality controller as they insisted that there was nothing wrong with the diesel.
The issue is now before the courts and ZERA has also been dragged into the issue as the two parties are looking forward to find a common ground .
Mr Muromba is now calling for all victims who suffered from this contaminated diesel in the period between 15 September 2022 and 15 October to come forward and say out their story as issues of contaminated fuel go unnoticed because many consumers are not aware of their rights and in most cases they do not even notice that their engine problems could be a result of contaminated fuel. They can contact him via whatsapp on 00263 779 055 204